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Motivating ESL Children: Part 1
Motivating ESL Children: Part 2
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Motivating Young ESL Learners: Part Two
More Ideas for Keeping Things Moving, by Maria Spelleri

Maria Spelleri wrote the following remarks to add to a list of motivational principles for ESL children, posted to the TESL-L listserv recently. She agreed to have her comments reprinted for the readers of the ESL MiniConference Online newsletter.

L. Baker and her students came up with a good list about motivating EFL children. I would like to add a few more points.

1. Drama and role play- especially if costumes and props are involved.

2. Using a ball to pass around, or an egg timer to turn even the most dreary grammar drills into games or "competitions".

3. Doing a project that raises awareness of other children around the world- email pals, video conferencing, exchanging art or photos with another class of same aged kids on another continent, etc. How about a "Gift from Hong Kong" box of little things that the kids make and/or collect along with English explanations of each that the kids prepare to exchange with another group?

4. Take photos in class and use Polaroids on occasion for instant gratification and classroom fun- especially nice when the kids are working in groups. I did a project with Colombian 2nd graders (summer visitors to US), where each got a disposable camera to document their visit here. The first two weeks they took pictures. The second two weeks they created a book with text.

5. Give kids some "power" and choices. Let the kids take attendance, call the class to order, dismiss the class, sometimes chose between lesson alternatives, etc. Make it an honor to be chosen to "help the teacher", by giving them a badge for the day, or putting their name in a special frame for the day. Some of the kids were much stricter than I would have been! (Doesn't work after around 8 years old!)

Story by Maria Spelleri
Literacy Council of Sarasota, Florida

2002 ESL MiniConference Online